Marion County commissioners finalized an order Thursday, preventing a waste energy plant in Brooks from accepting biomedical waste, until they can legally prevent fetal tissue from being burned to generate power.

Commission Chair Sam Brentano said he was shocked and horrified to learn that the Covana Marion plant was burning aborted and miscarried fetuses among the medical waste shipped in from Canada. The information came a report from a British Columbia Catholic newspaper.

Biomedical waste is only a small part of the than 500 tons of solid waste processed each day at the plant, but Brentano says it has to stop.

The commission is working to tighten the language in the current waste ordinance to specifically exclude fetal material from being disposed of at the Brooks plant.

The Covana Marion plant is operated in partnership with the county, and sells the power generated by burning waste, to Portland General Electric.